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Concept: Prefectures of Japan


This paper focuses on an overview of radioactive cesium 137 (quasi-Cs137 included Cs134) contamination of freshwater fish in Fukushima and eastern Japan based on the data published by the Fisheries Agency of the Japanese Government in 2011. In the area north and west of the Fukushima Nuclear plant, freshwater fish have been highly contaminated. For example, the mean of active cesium (quasi-Cs137) contamination of Ayu (Plecoglossus altivelis) is 2,657 Bq/kg at Mano River, 20-40 km north-west from the plant. Bioaccumulation is observed in the Agano river basin in Aizu sub-region, 70-150 km west from the plant. The active cesium (quasi-Cs137) contamination of carnivorous Salmondae is around 2 times higher than herbivorous Ayu. The extent of active cesium (quasi-Cs137) contamination of Ayu is observed in the entire eastern Japan. The some level of the contamination is recognized even in Shizuoka prefecture, 400 km south-west from the plant.

Concepts: Chernobyl disaster, Japan, Freshwater fish, Prefectures of Japan, Government of Japan, Honshū, Shizuoka Prefecture, Ayu


In Fukushima, Japan, a prolonged refugee situation caused by a major nuclear incident after the earthquake of March 11, 2011 has led to the unintentional abandonment of many pets. We received stray or abandoned dogs from rescue centers in Fukushima Prefecture. During re-socialization training and health care, we accessed the behavioral characteristics and the urine cortisol level of each dog and compared them with those of other abandoned dogs not involved in this earthquake. The dogs from Fukushima showed significantly lower aggression toward unfamiliar people, trainability, and attachment to their caretakers; also, urine cortisol levels in the dogs from Fukushima were 5-10-fold higher than those in abandoned dogs from another area of Japan. These results suggested that the dogs from Fukushima suffered through an extremely stressful crisis.

Concepts: Health care, Japan, Dog, Earthquake, Prefectures of Japan, Fukushima Prefecture, Tōhoku region, Honshū


To evaluate the environmental contamination and radiation exposure dose rates due to artificial radionuclides in Kawauchi Village, Fukushima Prefecture, the restricted area within a 30-km radius from the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant (FNPP), the concentrations of artificial radionuclides in soil samples, tree needles, and mushrooms were analyzed by gamma spectrometry. Nine months have passed since samples were collected on December 19 and 20, 2011, 9 months after the FNPP accident, and the prevalent dose-forming artificial radionuclides from all samples were (134)Cs and (137)Cs. The estimated external effective doses from soil samples were 0.42-7.2 µSv/h (3.7-63.0 mSv/y) within the 20-km radius from FNPP and 0.0011-0.38 µSv/h (0.010-3.3 mSv/y) within the 20-30 km radius from FNPP. The present study revealed that current levels are sufficiently decreasing in Kawauchi Village, especially in areas within the 20- to 30-km radius from FNPP. Thus, residents may return their homes with long-term follow-up of the environmental monitoring and countermeasures such as decontamination and restrictions of the intake of foods for reducing unnecessary exposure. The case of Kawauchi Village will be the first model for the return to residents' homes after the FNPP accident.

Concepts: Ionizing radiation, Nuclear physics, Chernobyl disaster, Radioactive decay, Nuclear power, Radioactive contamination, Prefectures of Japan, Fukushima Prefecture


OBJECTIVES: To investigate the association between occupational contamination and exposure levels to antineoplastic drugs and the application of control measures in a hospital work environment. Methods : Wipe samples of equipments were collected at a hospital in Osaka Prefecture, Japan, from 2007 to 2011. These samples were subjected to measurements of cyclophosphamide (CP), gemcitabine (GEM), platinum-containing drugs (Pt), and fluorouracil (5FU). Additionally, 24-h urine samples were collected from pharmacists who handled antineoplastic drugs, which were analyzed for CP and alpha-fluoro-beta-alanine (AFBA). The application of control measures was scored according to a checklist, which consisted of the following five items: safety equipment and maintenance, training and documentation, devices for safe handling, personal protective equipment, and emergency care. The aim was to obtain a score of 80%. Results : The median CP, GEM, and 5FU concentrations of all wipe samples were significantly lower during the period when the mean score was >80% (attainment period) versus when the mean score was ≤80% (nonattainment period; all P < 0.001, Mann-Whitney's U-test). Additionally, the median urinary CP and AFBA concentrations of pharmacists during the attainment period tended to be lower than that of those during the nonattainment period (P = 0.061 and 0.061, respectively, using Mann-Whitney's U-test). Conclusions : Contamination and levels of exposure to antineoplastic drugs decreased with a score higher than 80%. The scores of the items on the checklist appeared to adequately reflect the condition of the control measures, as increases in all five items were associated with reductions in the contamination by and levels of exposure to all drugs.

Concepts: Arithmetic mean, Scores, Personal protective equipment, Protection, Pharmacy, Occupational safety and health, Prefectures of Japan, Osaka Prefecture


A dark septate fungus of Pseudosigmoidea, Hyphomycetes, was recovered from forest soil in Ibaraki prefecture, Japan. The isolate is characterized by pale to brown conidia with up to 8 septa measuring 68-132 × 4-7.9 mm. It is also unique in producing conidia borne by long conidogenious cells in agar medium with or without water, compared to P. cranei, which must be immersed in water to sporulate. Morphological analysis indicated that the isolate is distinct from P. cranei and is described as a new species, P. ibarakiensis sp. nov. Pathogenicity tests of Chinese cabbage and cucumber seedlings indicated that the fungus grows as an endophyte and colonizes, inter and intracellularly, the root epidermal and cortical layers without causing apparent disease symptoms in the host. This endophyte showed the ability to support cucumber plant growth under conditions where NaNO3 was replaced by organic nitrogen but also conferred to Chinese cabbage the ability to grow at low pH. It also became successfully established in six other plants, including the Brassicae, Solanaceae, Poaceae, and Liliacea families, suggesting its adaptability to a broad range of host plants.

Concepts: Plant, Fungus, Japan, Spore, Endophyte, Prefectures of Japan, Honshū, Kantō region


Due to the likelihood of physical and mental health impacts following the unprecedented accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant, the Fukushima prefectural government decided to conduct the Fukushima Health Management Survey to assist in the long-term health management of residents. This included thyroid ultrasound examination for all children in Fukushima. For appropriate evaluation of ultrasound screening of the thyroid, it is important to understand its reference data of thyroid findings in children in general. In order to analyze the frequencies of specific thyroid findings, we conducted ultrasound screening of the thyroid by the same procedures as used in Fukushima in 4,365 children, aged 3 to 18 years, from three Japanese prefectures. Overall, thyroid cysts were identified in 56.88% and thyroid nodules in 1.65% of the participants. Thyroid cysts and nodules with a maximum diameter of more than 5 mm were identified in 4.58% and 1.01%, respectively, and age-adjusted prevalences were 3.82% and 0.99%, respectively. Although the prevalence of cysts and nodules varied among the examination areas, no significant differences were observed among the three examination areas in the prevalence of cysts and nodules with a maximum diameter of more than 5 mm. Also, the prevalence of thyroid cysts and nodules, especially those with a maximum diameter of more than 5 mm, significantly increased with age, and showed a female predominance. We also identified ectopic thymus (1.95%), diffuse goiter (1.40%), ultimobranchial body (0.73%), lymph node swelling (0.21%) and thyroid agenesis (0.05%). This is the first ultrasound description of the age-adjusted prevalence of thyroid cysts and nodules, or of the prevalence of abnormalities other than cysts and nodules, such as ectopic thymus, in relation to age, in the general Japanese child population. We contend that this can provide relevant information for the Fukushima Health Management Survey and future population studies.

Concepts: Demography, Japan, Nuclear power, Goitre, Prefectures of Japan, Fukushima Prefecture, Honshū, Parafollicular cell


In an unprecedented food monitoring campaign for radionuclides, the Japanese government took action to secure food safety after the Fukushima nuclear accident (11 March 2011). In this paper we analyze a part of the immense data set, in particular radiocesium contaminations in food from the first year after the accident. Activity concentrations in vegetables peaked immediately after the campaign had commenced, but they decreased quickly, so that by early summer 2011 only few samples exceeded the regulatory limits. Later, accumulating mushrooms and dried produce led to several exceedances of the limits again. Monitoring of meat started with significant delay, especially outside Fukushima prefecture. After a buildup period, contamination levels of meat peaked by July 2011 (beef). Levels then decreased quickly, but peaked again in September 2011, which was primarily due to boar meat (a known accumulator of radiocesium). Pre-Fukushima 137Cs and 90Sr levels (resulting from atmospheric nuclear explosions) in food were typically lower than 0.5 Bq/kg, whereby meat was typically higher in 137Cs, and vegetarian produce was usually higher in 90Sr. The correlation of background radiostrontium and radiocesium indicated that the regulatory assumption after the Fukushima accident of a maximum activity of 90Sr being 10% of the respective 137Cs concentrations may soon be at risk, as the 90Sr/137Cs ratio increases with time. This should be taken into account for the current Japanese food policy as the current regulation will soon underestimate the 90Sr content of Japanese foods.

Concepts: Nuclear medicine, Food, Japan, Radioactive contamination, Prefectures of Japan, Government of Japan, Honshū, Cabinet of Japan


Twelve high schools in Japan (of which six are in Fukushima Prefecture), four in France, eight in Poland and two in Belarus cooperated in the measurement and comparison of individual external doses in 2014. In total 216 high-school students and teachers participated in the study. Each participant wore an electronic personal dosimeter ’D-shuttle' for two weeks, and kept a journal of his/her whereabouts and activities. The distributions of annual external doses estimated for each region overlap with each other, demonstrating that the personal external individual doses in locations where residence is currently allowed in Fukushima Prefecture and in Belarus are well within the range of estimated annual doses due to the terrestrial background radiation level of other regions/countries.

Concepts: Ionizing radiation, Japan, High school, Background radiation, Prefectures of Japan, Fukushima Prefecture, Tōhoku region, Honshū


Since the nuclear power plant accident in Fukushima in March 2011, the Japanese government has conducted screening and removal of contaminated foods from the market that exceed provisional regulation limits for radionuclides. This study aimed to provide an urgent estimate of the dietary exposure of adult residents recruited from three areas in Japan to cesium 134 (134Cs), cesium 137 (137Cs), and, for comparison, natural potassium 40 (40K) on December 4, 2011. Fifty-three sets of 24-hr food-duplicate samples were collected in Fukushima Prefecture and neighboring regions. The 134Cs, 137Cs, and 40K levels in the samples were measured using a germanium detector. Items in the food-duplicate samples were recorded and analyzed for radiocesium intake. Radiocesium was detected in 25 of 26 samples from Fukushima. The median dietary intake of radiocesium was 4.0 Bq/day (range <0.26-17 Bq/day). The estimated annual dose from radiocesium was calculated assuming that the daily intake of radiocesium was constant throughout the year. The median estimated dose level was 23 μSv/year (range <2.6-99 μSv/year). The estimated dose level of radiocesium was significantly higher in Fukushima than in the Kanto region and western Japan. Stepwise multiple linear regression analyses demonstrated that the intake of fruits and mushrooms produced in Fukushima were significant factors for the dietary intake of 137Cs in the 26 participants from Fukushima. The average radioactivity (±SD) of locally produced persimmons and apples (n=16) were 23±28 and 30±35 Bq/kg for 134Cs and 137Cs, respectively. The preliminary estimated dietary dose levels among Fukushima residents were much lower than the maximum permissible dose 1 mSv/year, based on new Japanese standard limits for radiocesium in foods (100 Bq/kg for general foods). In future studies, the exposure estimates should be refined by probability sampling to eliminate biases.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Linear regression, Chernobyl disaster, Japan, Prefectures of Japan, Government of Japan, Fukushima Prefecture, Honshū


The Japanese government ordered the analysis of thousands of foods after the Fukushima nuclear accident to ascertain compliance with regulatory limits for anthropogenic radionuclides in food. Four hundred and fourty five samples from 11 prefectures exceeded the regulatory limits that were in force until 31 March 2011. The possibility of these 445 samples representing localized areas of high radiocesium concentration was investigated. The objective of this study was to determine the radiocesium activity ratio (134Cs/137Cs) in foods from each geographic area to possibly identify the radioactive signature of the four different reactors (i.e. four independent sources) in the distinct regions. The average 134Cs/137Cs activity ratio was 0.98+/-0.01 for all samples. However, no clear deviations from this value could be confirmed in the various regions. Since there was no statistically significant deviation in the radiocesium activity ratio, the releases from reactor No. 4 (carrying a significantly smaller activity ratio) are assumed to be small when compared with the other three reactor release. The individual radioisotopic signatures of reactors No. 1, 2, and 3 could not be identified in various Japanese regions using the food samples, indicating integral radiocesium contamination from these sources. Subsequent releases of fission products from the reactors (e.g. after possible criticalities reported in October 2011) proved to have no impact on the radiocesium activity ratio. A discussion of the development of the regulatory limits in Japan and Europe with regard to the current limits and radiological food safety are also included.

Concepts: Food, Radioactive decay, Japan, Standard deviation, Radioactive contamination, Prefectures of Japan, Government of Japan, Cabinet of Japan